Title: Never Lost Just Found (7/7)
Fandom: Star Trek AOS
Summary: FH!verse (AU); Sequel to A World of Crazy. Christmas Eve approaches.
Previous Part: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
The crew has forgotten the tension between the Captain and the Doctor because the two men have forgotten it (or set it to the side). Now there is only wide-eyed appreciation and talk of Doctor McCoy’s magic healing feats. The man waves their words away, tells them to “sit down and shut up, for Christ’s sake!”
“But, Doctor McCoy, you’ve saved Mr. Spock!”
“No I haven’t. Spock’s still sick, you dimwit.”
Chekov blinks innocently at the doctor’s back and ignores his words. Pavel turns to Sulu and wants to know, “What about the wedding?”
Sulu drops his fork (katana) and turns to Mr. Scott on his right. “Scotty, the wedding!”
Scotty swallows the peas in his mouth (almost chokes because he forgets to chew). “Losh!” He leans to his right and exclaims, “Lass, what’re we gonna do?”
Uhura calmly folds her napkin, waits until Kirk and McCoy trot over to Pike to ask after Spock. “The wedding must go on.”
“Yes!” Chekov adds. “For the Keptin and the Doctor!”
Uhura glares him into silence. “No, Pavel, not without Spock.” She points Scotty’s spoon-clutching hand in the direction of Admiral Pike. “We’ll relocate the event to the hospital.”
Scotty, surprisingly, looks excited about this piece of news. “We’re going on a Christmas trip!” Uhura then allows Pavel to cheer, who nudges at Sulu.
The pilot (having a 6 of a day) seems onboard with the plan. “If you’ll provide the coordinates, Pavel,” he tells his roommate, “I can get the Enterprise over there by Christmas Eve. It’ll require warp-factor three.”
Uhura slides from her seat. She runs a hand along Scotty’s back, across Sulu’s head and tugs at Chekov’s ear. “We have all the power we need, boys,” she says slyly. “We’ve got—” she drags her hand from her pocket and jingles her prize, “—keys to the escape shuttle.”
Now Jim knows what it feels like to be depressed. Bones, thankfully, seems glad for his company at night since their third is bed-ridden across town. Jim misses Spock. Even more so, Jim is missing Leonard McCoy, though the man hasn’t left him yet.
He shoves another slipper out of the way.
“Jim, what in the world are you doing?”
Kirk makes a noise from under the bed. He’s saying “Looking for something.”
“What? Goddamn it, come outta there!”
Jim sighs and goes limp on the floor, still halfway ensconced amidst the numerous dust bunnies. He’s depressed, Spock is sick, Bones is leaving, and he can’t find their rings.
Maybe it’s just another sign that he was wrong to want this union between the three of them. Maybe it’s just God laughing in his face for being deluded and stuck in a mental hospital when he could have been free, as McCoy will be some day.
His daddy’s ring was in that box too. Jim ignores the tear trying to escape from his eye. There’s a tug on his pants leg and a hand grabbing his calf. Bones pulls him the rest of the way from the desolation of the darkness.
McCoy’s on his knees, looking at a prostrate Jim. Jim stares back and says nothing.
“Jim, it’s okay. I promise Spock’s gonna be alright.”
“I know that.” The words are hollow to his own ears.
“Then what’s the matter?” The doctor grimaces, as if he cannot believe he just said that. Jim really can’t believe Bones just said that either. It’s obvious what’s the matter with him.
Christmas Eve is tomorrow night and the world is falling apart in his hands. (He’s letting it break.)
Leonard McCoy does something strange. He stretches out on the floor beside Jim, settles until they are touching shoulder to hip. “Please don’t be sad, Jim,” Bones begs him. “I know I’ve hurt you—you and Spock—”
“I just wanted it to work,” he confesses. “I really thought that we could be together.”
“I’m not ready,” the other sighs. “Hell, I don’t know if I’ll ever be ready. Jocelyn—” There is a pause. Jim reaches over and links their fingers together, squeezes McCoy’s. “—she tore something outta me, Jim. Something vital. I know here—” The doctor thumps their joined hands against his chest. “—that I can trust you both, that you wouldn’t hurt me for the world but… not here. Not yet.” Another lingering touch, against Bones’ forehead.
Jim nods. “Even if you did, Bones, we wouldn’t be right for you.”
“That’s not true!” McCoy turns on his side, leans over to look Jim in the face. “I’d be damned lucky to have you two. You are right for me, Jim, don’t ever think otherwise.”
“But you can’t stay at Fleet Heights the rest of your life.”
It’s McCoy’s turn to nod. “Exactly. I don’t know why we had to meet like this, why it couldn’t have been out there.” A rueful smile plays along Bones’ mouth. Jim squashes the urge to kiss him. “Don’t know why it couldn’t have been on a starship, out in space.”
“Because there are no starships,” Jim remarks dryly. “Not yet, anyway.”
He likes it when Bones grins with him. He’s going to miss that very much. “Bones…” It’s said in a soft sigh as he uses his free hand to map McCoy’s face. He wants to remember everything, each detail.
“I know, Jim, I know. But for now, I’m right here with you.”
He lets the doctor—this man he loved, loves, will always love—pull him from the floor and into a hug. At least this moment between them is tangible, will become a genuine memory. At least Captain Kirk was finally able to have his Doctor McCoy, Jim got Bones, and a dream became a reality.
Christmas Eve is humming along; everyone—but two—seem alive and cheerful without reason. All day Jim listens (somewhat despondently) to Chekov babble about Russian holiday festivities and how the baby Jesus was born on the icy tundra of northern Russia. No one bothers to correct the little moniker, nor to persuade him to be quiet. The noise is all that Leonard and Jim have to keep their minds off the woeful day.
Leonard cannot stand to look at the calendar on the wall of their room, but Jim wouldn’t let him take it down. Len is sick with grief, in his heart, because this day, that should have been a cause of celebration, will be nothing more than a dreaded day of the year for the rest of his life. He knows that he will never forget Fleet Heights, couldn’t if he wanted to. Somehow every person has wormed their way into his heart, filled it up despite that Len thought it was empty. Most of all, there will be mornings when he wakes up alone, when the feeling of being pressed between two others is an echo of tingling nerves. Those times will be the longest.
He thinks he can survive. He knows that he must.
The day passes swiftly into evening. No one makes mention of the lack of wedding vows or that Spock is not among the crew when he should be.
Leonard forgets that he underestimates the insanity of his friends. In fact, when he rounds the corner of the cafeteria—snack in hand for Jim, who won’t eat—Scotty is blocking his path and smiling. Leonard takes one look at the wrench, pales and drops the apple. It rolls into a dark corner (later to be discovered by a Romulan janitor).
“Scotty, what are you doing?”
Scotty keeps on smiling as he advances.
“Mr. Scott—” Len attempts to put some authority in his voice; it comes out as a squeak. “—remember how this ended last time? I need you to put down that wrench.”
“Nae, lad, din ye think I’d forgotten?”
Oh shit. Shit shit shit. What does that mean? “No Christmas cookies for you, Scotty!”
The wrench-tapping stops. “But that’s not fair, Doctor McCoy.”
Jesus God, what the Hell is the matter with the world these days? “We’ll discuss it as soon as you—”
“Oh I wasn’t gonna hit you, laddie.” Scotty blinks at him. “I’m jus’he distraction.”
What? McCoy’s arms are pinned to his sides and a sharp object pressed into his spine. Sulu says, so menacingly that Len’s knees want to knock together, “Don’t fight us, Doctor, or you’re going to get it.”
“What the fuck are ya’ll doing! This—” He’s dragged down the hall backwards. “Chekov! Let me go.”
“Very sorry, Doctor, but the plan must go on. Uhura says so!”
Oh that black-hearted witch. Wait until he… Leonard compiles a very long list of punishments for these fool people. He protests, squirms and gets prodded by rather unpleasant painful things. How they manage to make it out a backdoor without getting caught (Len’s complaining loud enough to send help running) he has no fucking clue. In a strange, oil-slick garage (there’s a garage?) Leonard is pivoted to face an open van door.
Last chance. Leonard says the first thing that comes to mind. He tells Pavel, quite loudly, “Naughty children don’t get gifts from Santa!”
Chekov answers, pouting, as Leonard is shoved into the back, “But I’m being good, Doctor.” The door slams shut and Len stares at it. When he attempts to jiggle the handle, it’s locked. When he kicks it, cursing, a voice says “Don’t bother. I think Sulu roped it shut.”
“Jim? What the fuck is going on?”
“We’re being kidnapped.”
McCoy’s gaping and he knows it. “Kidnapped?”
Another door opens and closes. There is metal grating that separates the back of the van from the front. Chekov gets into the middle of the front seat, followed quickly by Sulu and Scotty on the right. They call “hello back there!” as they smush together like sardines. There’s no one in the driver’s seat until…
The driver side door opens and Leonard watches, amazed, as Uhura slides in.
“Hello, Doctor McCoy. Captain. Please buckle up.”
“Uhura! You—” She starts the engine and drowns him out. Leonard’s heart is beating crazily in his chest as the van lurches out of park. He doesn’t say another word for fear of distracting the insane Uhura and having ’em all crash into the garage wall.
“Bones?” Jim sounds uncertain.
“Oh, Len, please untie Jim.”
What? Leonard crawls over, feels around. Well shit. Apparently this van isn’t just for transporting equipment; it’s for crazy patients too. Jim smiles at him sheepishly, strapped to the wall of the van.
Goddamn it. Leonard cannot be rid of these maniacs too soon! As he fights with the buckles, he asks “Where are we going?”
Jim shrugs, then calls out, “Hey! Where are we going?”
Uhura answers calmly enough, “To your wedding.”
“Nyota,” Len tries for reason, “Nobody’s getting married today.”
“Well, not on the Enterprise, Leonard, you silly man. Mr. Spock isn’t there. So we’re going to Spock.”
Oh God. Mental patients on the loose in Atlanta Christmas Eve traffic. Leonard starts calling in every favor God owes him.
“Do you even know where he is?”
“Sure. Atlanta General. Been there lots of times.”
Scotty pipes in, “Uhura was born on this planet.”
The whimpering is not at all feigned. Jim must take pity on Leonard because he tries to tell him it’ll be okay, they aren’t going to die. “Uhura knows these streets like the back of her hand.”
“She’s crazy, Jim.”
Kirk makes a dismissive noise.
“And who’s going to be insane enough to let us in the hospital? We’re dressed like fucking mental patients. JIM!” Leonard is getting hysterical, but he cannot stop himself. “We are mental patients, you idiot!“
Unfortunately, there are no comforting words Jim can offer. So Leonard lets him continue the petting and attempts a breathing exercise in the mean-time.
The drive is long, nerve-wracking, and possibly the craziest experience of his life.
That is, until they actually manage to get inside Atlanta General Hospital in one piece. (Why Leonard doesn’t rat them out as soon as he and Jim are released, he’ll never know. There are just too many of the crazies and not enough Leonards to stop them all.)
The hitch in Uhura’s plan comes when they file (stumble, what a nightmare; poor Jim, so claustrophobic) out of the elevator onto Spock’s floor. Uhura is waving around her get-well card like a ticket to a local rodeo; apparently she convinced the Admiral she needed Spock’s room number to write on the front of the card. Poor stupid Pike, Len thinks. He’s going to be berating himself for this little fiasco for years to come.
The nurse says yes, Mr. Spock—Leonard purposefully ignores the recited last name because Spock will always be just Spock to him—has been cleared from ICU days ago but no, visiting hours are over.
Len isn’t surprised in the least when Jim slides to the front to sweet talk the nurse. That, of course, takes a matter of minutes. Certainly Nurse Rand can make an exception for Spock’s… long-lost cousins. Of course, she understands, seeing how it’s Christmas Eve and all, and she—he—is lonely in the hospital on this lovely holiday.
Rand leads them down the hall and points at a room. “There you go, sugar.” She giggles at Kirk and waggles her fingers. “I’ll be at the reception desk, should y’all need me.”
A familiar voice drifts to Spock’s ears and he carefully raises his bed. The Vulcan is as dignified as can be when the Enterprise troop comes into his Sickbay room. Chekov attempts to carol his way in, but Lieutenant Uhura prompts shuts him up with “Pavel, hush! There’re sick people here!”
He decides that he must save the navigator’s fragile human feelings. “While you are correct, Nyota, I suspect that the other occupants of Sickbay would be most grateful for… Mr. Chekov’s holiday cheer.” His voice is rough, from the coughing, but given his Vulcan stamina, Spock estimates that he shall be back to his duties in another four point three days.
The Captain catches his attention as Kirk comes around to the other side to touch him (without the hindrance of medical equipment). Spock holds up the two appropriate fingers and Jim returns to the kiss.
“I admit that I am… pleased to see you, Captain.”
“Same, Mr. Spock.” Kirk sits down gingerly on his bed. He looks over Spock, towards the door and says “C’mon, Bones.”
Spock watches Leonard McCoy cautiously separate himself from the group and approach them. “Spock.”
With a tilt of his head, the Vulcan acknowledges, “Doctor McCoy. I owe you my life.”
That makes the doctor scowl—a comfort, though Spock’s Vulcan brain would never admit so. “I didn’t do anything but make Jim call Pike.”
He raises an eyebrow. “You have an illogical habit of modesty, Doctor.”
That scowl deepens and Leonard bends down to eye him. “Put it down, Spock.”
His eyebrow goes higher. When the doctor curses, Spock allows his face to settle back into its serene proportions.
“Okay!” There is a clap of hands, quickly followed by three other pairs of clapping hands. Uhura directs Scotty to the opposite end of the end. “Since Admiral Pike was detained,” Uhura smiles wickedly, “and shall be unable to officiate your union, Mr. Scott has volunteered to take his place.”
Jim clears his throat. “Uhura, I should have said something sooner, I’m sorry—”
Spock watches, fascinated, as Doctor McCoy lays his hand over Jim’s (which is over Spock’s) “—but Jim-boy here forgot to tell you that Spock was doing the proposing. So… no proposing, no marriage.”
Uhura closes her mouth and frowns at the trio.
Spock has had a long time (alone, once well) to think of their situation. He came to a decision and knows that his mother, Amanda, would want him to honor it. “Leonard,” Spock begins. “I have given many hours of meditation to your concerns and your… words.”
“Spock,” the Captain interrupts, “it’s okay…”
“Jim, if you will allow me to finish.” His bondmate goes silent, accepting, for now. “Doctor McCoy, you must not fear to love another. It is in every man’s heart to love. Jim and I wish to grant you the gift of ours.”
“I can’t stay forever.” The Vulcan senses sadness radiating from the doctor.
“Yes, I understand. Your dream is not bound to one place, as Jim’s dream is, as my own is. You are free to go; do not feel that our love holds you from living. It does not. It goes with you, wherever you must travel.” Spock reaches out, touches Leonard’s face. “I request only that you accept that which we wish to give you, for as long as destiny grants us.”
There are teardrops on his fingers. He collects them quietly, holds onto them.
Jim, his other, leans over their hands and places a kiss first on Leonard’s, then Spock’s. “That’s all I want,” he says quietly.
Their moment is broken by Chekov wiping his eyes and nose on the sleeve of his roommate’s shirt, which Sulu protests immediately. Uhura gives them all a wobbly smile and pulls out a box from Scotty’s robe pocket.
Jim’s eyes are wide as he takes the box. Leonard’s eyes grow wider when Jim flips off the lid and pulls out a ring. Spock is satisfied. “You may begin, Mr. Scott, when you are ready,” he tells the engineer/preacher.
Spock takes his ring from Jim as Leonard holds his own in shaking hands. It is smooth, gleaming in the light. His eyes identify an engraving along the inside: with this, my love, parted from me and never parted.
It is appropriate, it is poetic. It is a reminder of that which endures beyond separation, heartache, time and flesh.
Spock slides the ring onto his finger as Scotty sets an impromptu wedding into motion. Then he catches Leonard’s eyes and takes the ring from the doctor’s palm, utters “Parted from us and never parted” and slips it in place, securely covering the faint white (fading) band left on Leonard’s finger.
He watches, as Jim does, the doctor stare at it, twist the band once (as if checking to make sure that it is really there), before Jim pulls McCoy’s hand away and kisses its knuckles.
It is a long moment (Scotty droning on about eternal love) until Leonard McCoy tells them, voice thick, “Considering the mess of trouble we’re in, I imagine Destiny’s gonna grant us a very long time together.”
Spock does not smile (he does not need to). “This is a certainty on which I depend, Doctor.”
Jim laughs, Leonard gives a heart-felt (trembling) sigh, and Spock accepts both with an open heart.
This sequel is dedicated in memoriam to easilymused1956. Renee, this one’s for you. Miss you, hon.
There is now a series of background one-shots for you to read: here.